Friday, September 19, 2008

I'm free!

I'm out of hospital isolation after radioactive iodine treatment. How did it work? Like this: I took my bags and bags of magazines and reading material (it was crazy, people...thanks to all who contributed!) to my room, got settled. Then I went down to the Nuclear Medicine Dept. to talk to the radiologist about what was going to happen. We did this the Friday before as well, but she needed to do it officially again. I had a few questions so we went over those then back to the room.

A few hours (yes, hours...took too long) later, a Nuclear Medicine technician brought the dose of radioactive iodine to me in my room in this nifty little protective container along with a radioactivity reading machine. I took the dose, it was a capsule like any other pill, being careful not to touch it with my fingers and washed it down with some water. And that was it!

Funny thing...the tech took the radioactivity reading machine and within three minutes had a reading on me (that's how fast it worked) right in front of me, then at three feet, then at the door. She wrote down some numbers, said someone would be back the next day to get readings at these distances again and then left me in my isolation. From that point on, people would call from the door things like...."Your food is here!" or "Do you need anything?" but other than that, I was on my own. I didn't mind it too bad other than missing the family. I feel very fortunate not to have had any side effects from it as others I have read about and talked to have. The tech came back and when my level was deemed no longer harmful to others, I was released.

However, that's the tricky part. I'm OK to leave the hospital but have some fairly confining restrictions for at least five days in terms of radioactivity exposure to others. With a pre-teen and teenager at the house, many suggested a week past hospital discharge in a self-imposed isolation so I'm in a hotel room until tomorrow afternoon then am switching to the basement for a few more days. We have a separate bedroom and bathroom in the basement plus my desk so I'm going to do that through Tuesday, at least that's the plan. The key is time and distance. The farther out from the actual dose in terms of days, the less radioactivity. The more distance I can put between myself and others, the better.

Luckily, I was fine and haven't experienced any side effects. Except I'm still pretty tired, but I have started on my first doses of Levoxyl, the thyroid replacement medication I will be on the rest of my life. As I understand, it will take a few weeks to kick in, but to start that is a big step forward in regaining my energy.

And some of the best news....back to regular food, not the low-iodine business! I should take bets on this next question, if I did that sort of thing, but would lose money as most of you know the answer:

What was the first thing I had to eat outside of the hospital when I could eat normal food? Anyone?

Yes, most of you got this bean burrito with no onions from Taco Bell. :) This has been my favorite since I was, oh, 15 years old.

And, oh yes, here's the best news. I'm now a cancer survivor!


  1. Awesome update, Charlcie! All the best, and welcome back to the land of Taco Bell.

  2. No way--I also love a bean burrito and take it (preferrably) without onions! We must be related somewhere...
    Glad you are done--I don't konw 72 hours to sit around and read magazines doesn't sound half bad...but then again I am really lazy :) Glad you are out and feeling good.

  3. I loves me some Taco Hell. I mean Bell.

    Welcome back to the outside world!